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Mother & Child Health

Common Complications of Pregnancy

What are some common complications of pregnancy?

Some women experience health problems during pregnancy. These complications can involve the mother’s health, the fetus, or both. Even women who were healthy before getting pregnant can experience complications. These complications make the pregnancy a high-risk pregnancy.

Getting early and regularprenatal care can help decrease the risk for problems by enabling health care providers to diagnose, treat, or manage conditions before they become serious.

Some common complications of pregnancy include, but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm labor
  • Pregnancy loss

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when arteries carrying blood from the heart to the body organs are narrowed. This causes pressure to increase in the arteries. In pregnancy, this can make it hard for blood to reach the placenta, which provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. Reduced blood flow can slow the growth of the fetus and place the mother at greater risk of preterm labor and preeclampsia.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman who didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy develops the condition during pregnancy.

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that can lead to premature delivery. Its cause is unknown, but some women are at an increased risk. Risk factors include

  • First pregnancies
  • Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
  • Existing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Being 35 years of age or older
  • Carrying two or more fetuses
  • Obesity

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor is labor that begins before 37 weeks of gestation. Any infant born before 37 weeks is at an increased risk for health problems, in most cases because organs such as the lungs and brain finish their development in the final weeks before a full-term delivery (39 to 41 weeks).

Pregnancy Loss/Miscarriage

Miscarriage is the term used to describe a pregnancy loss from natural causes before 20 weeks. Signs can include vaginal spotting or bleeding, cramping, or fluid or tissue passing from the vagina. However, bleeding from the vagina does not mean that a miscarriage will happen or is happening. Women experiencing this sign at any point in their pregnancy should contact with the doctor.

The loss of pregnancy after the 20th week of gestation is called a stillbirth. In approximately half of all reported cases, doctors can find no cause for the loss. However, health conditions that can contribute to stillbirth include chromosomal abnormalities, placental problems, poor fetal growth, chronic health issues of the mother, and infection.

 

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